The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper considers the extent of retail banking integration in the Communauté Economique et Monétaire d'Afrique Centrale (CEMAC) and the level of bank competition at the regional level. Using a mix of quantitative and qualitative indicators, the paper finds some evidence of price convergence in average interest rate spreads. However, this observed fact is not supported by an increase in cross-border flows in retail loans and deposits, and price convergence may merely reflect excess liquidity in the region. Other data also indicate that bank competition within the CEMAC as a region is limited, complementing the findings on integration. Addressing shortfalls in legal and regulatory frameworks, infrastructure, and markets would facilitate integration.